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Subject: Emmanuel Ghent, Composer and Innovator


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died March 31
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Date Posted: April 13, 2003 1:38:01 EDT

Dr. Emmanuel Ghent, a pioneering composer of computer-generated electronic music and a practitioner, researcher and teacher of psychoanalysis, died on March 31 in New York. He was 77.

The cause was a heart attack, said his wife, Karen Weiss.

In the late 1960's, while on a Guggenheim Fellowship, Dr. Ghent worked at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, adapting a computer system designed to synthesize speech so it would also produce electronic music.

In the 1970's he further adapted the system so it could adjust the lighting in a theater to coordinate with the music the computer produced. Using it, he made dance works that combined music and changing light patterns.

The best known of those pieces, "Phosphones," has been performed more than 100 times by various troupes, including the Mimi Garrard Dance Company. Dr. Ghent's other electronic compositions include "Helices", Five Brass Voices for Computer-Generated Tape, and "25 Songs for Children and All Their Friends," a work written to celebrate the birth of his third daughter.

There is also a recording of his "Entelechy for Viola and Piano."

An amateur oboist, Mr. Ghent composed music on paper and electronically throughout his life.

Emmanuel Robert Ghent was born in Montreal on May 15, 1925, and studied medicine at McGill University. He did his psychiatric training in New York and practiced there throughout his life. One of his goals was to broaden the field of psychoanalysis beyond medical practitioners. He was clinical professor of psychology at the postdoctoral program in psychoanalysis at New York University.

In addition to Ms. Weiss, Dr. Ghent is survived by his daughters, Nadia, of Irvine, Calif., and Valerie Ghent and Theresa Locklear of New York City; and three grandchildren.

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